New Yorks Health Commissioner Richard Daines, M.D., announced the state successfully met a June 30 deadline to adopt a sweeping plan to merge or restructure more than 50 hospitals and nursing homes. Recommendations to wipe out excess capacity and duplicated services made by the Berger Commissionformally known as the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Centuryhave been addressed or are under way at nearly 80 facilities affected by the report, Daines said in a news release.
Nine hospitals with nearly 1,700 beds will close by January 2009, and another 1,700 hospital beds will be cut by the end of 2010 through mergers, affiliations and downsizing, the department said. By the end of 2008, seven nursing homes with 1,100 beds will have closed, and the state expects to eliminate another 1,600 beds by the end of 2010. Not everyone rushed to meet the deadline. The state unilaterally amended operating certificates for 18 healthcare providers that failed to adopt or make necessary preparations for the Berger recommendations with three days remaining before the deadline.
In coming months, the state will seek proposals for $6 million in local health planning efforts and award $150 million for hospital and long-term-care mergers, affiliations and joint planning. Grants worth another $100 million will be awarded by Sept. 15 for primary-care projects. -- by Melanie Evans